The significance of small news organizations
The Washington Monthly, where I've found a home for some of my articles in recent years, spawned several generations of progressive journalists. You can help keep its founder's legacy alive.
Charlie Peters, the founder of the Washington Monthly, died on Thanksgiving Day at age 96. His death brought forth praise and reflection from numerous writers and editors, several of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years.
James Fallows, whom I got to know while serving as the Chicago Tribune’s chief Asia correspondent in Tokyo in the first half of the 1990s, began his career at the Monthly. You can read his reflection on “Why Charlie Peters Matters” here.
If you want to gain insight to the ideological struggle that took place on the left side of American politics during the last quarter of the 20th century, and the evolution of the Monthly, read Robert Kuttner’s piece on The American Prospect (TAP) website, “Charlie Peters and the Odyssey of Neoliberalism.”
Magazines like The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, The New Republic and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas may be small in circulation, but they can be very large in their political impact (see my personal note below). Each now has a major online presence. I am proud that their editors have allowed me from time to time to grace their pages and websites with my work.
On this giving Tuesday, please consider donating or subscribing to one or all of these non-profit news organizations. As Kuttner noted in his appreciation of Charlie Peters, they punch way above their weight. You can do so at the following links:
Give to The Washington Monthly
Give to The American Prospect
Give to The New Republic
Give to Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
And, if you’re in the mood and appreciate the work I continue to do in my semi-retirement, you can give a GoozNews gift subscription to a friend or become a paying subscriber yourself.
A personal note
My first notice in the Washington Monthly came in 1999. Looking for a way out of daily mainstream journalism, I began writing for The American Prospect under Kuttner’s tutelage. (We had met briefly two decades earlier, but that’s another story.) I had already had a front page series in the Tribune about the high price of a single drug (see “The Making of a Star Drug”). I expanded the article into what became a cover story in TAP headlined “The Price Isn’t Right,” which eventually led to a book contract on the general themes explored in those articles.
While working on that and other articles about my newfound interest in health-related reporting, I began exploring how the pharmaceutical industry’s manipulation of the global patent system was preventing the newly created AIDS cocktail from reaching millions of needy patients in the developing world. After my front page article appeared in the Tribune, I mailed a copy to the Washington Monthly as an entry in its monthly journalism award contest.
I wasn’t looking for glory. I was hoping that a notice in that inside-the-Beltway publication might allow the article to reach a more influential audience than the provincial Tribune. While I have no proof of the matter, I later read that President Clinton saw the piece and ordered his administration to backpedal somewhat from its hardline stance regarding protecting Big Pharma’s intellectual property.
That summer, I met Peters for the first and only time. It was at a party given by Paul Glastris, the magazine’s editor since 2001, and his late wife Kukula, the book editor for whom an award for book reviewing is now named. I have been proud to call Paul my colleague and friend ever since.
So, if you only make one contribution to a non-profit news organization this Giving Tuesday, make it to The Washington Monthly in honor of the legacy of Charlie Peters.